October is a month when we see Domestic Violence Awareness activities happening across the country. Do you know that October is also National Bullying Prevention Month? Domestic violence and bullying are acts committed by cruel hearted people. If you are a mean person who likes hurting others, then you definitely have some serious mental, emotional, spiritual and physical problems, in my opinion. You need help!
When we hear the term domestic violence we tend to think of incidents which happen in the home. The most common type of domestic violence that usually comes to mind is when a man verbally, mentally, emotionally or physically assaults his woman companion or his own children. Many women and children have been violently beaten, even murdered, at the hands of a man who professed to love them.
Violence starts in the home and then moves into the community; right? What we do not usually think about are the numerous acts of violence and bullying which happen every day in our tribal and public organizations. Countless acts of violence and bullying are being committed against many people, mostly women, while they are on the job or otherwise working in a public service capacity. This is not right.
To me, it doesn’t matter if the violent act is committed in the privacy of a home or in a public place. Violence against women and children is still violence. Again, too many women are being bullied while they are at work. This is blatant abuse and I do not believe we should have to put up with it. Are you being bullied while you are on the job? We need to start filing criminal charges against those violent bullies.
My recent experiences with violence and bullying made me wonder if the men who work in the public sector are also abused in the same way. I had to ask myself a question: if I was a man would I be subject to the same abusive treatment? I have to say that much of the public and cyber bullying I recently experienced was committed by men. Do the tough-acting men who brutalize women while we are at work also try to bully men? I highly doubt it. Men usually will not stand for that kind of treatment from other men.
The Lakota people are a matriarchal society and women are considered sacred beings. The women have always had an important voice in Lakota society. The women were consulted in every aspect of life, including the negotiation of the treaties we made with the federal government in the 19th century. The women owned, and still own, the home. We take care of the family. Our voices are crucial in the decision making process. We have always brought balance to our society. We are the backbone. Ladies, please remember that without us there would not be a Lakota society!
When alcohol was introduced into our society it altered everything. Maybe I should also say it continues to warp a lot of minds. In fact, I believe the main root cause of both the disease of the mind and crab in the bucket syndromes is alcohol.
The foreigners who brought the alcohol came from a male dominated society. They exerted their unwelcome influence over our people. They planted many seeds of doubt within the minds of our people. Doubt mixed with alcohol was not a very good combination for us. Those seeds have germinated over the past 520 years. Our people have never been the same.
Today we have tribal members who regularly overdose on alcohol and get all tough while under the influence. Only when they have guzzled enough of that horrid liquid drug to soak themselves with false booze courage, do they become brave enough to intimidate their fellow tribal members. They are caught up a dysfunctional illusion that by being bullies they are changing things. But they are not changing anything; they are only drunken bullies trying to force things to go their way.
You and I both know these people. When they are sober they won’t even say anything mean to your face. In fact, they might even act like they are your friend or colleague. But when they choose to overdose on cases of beer or gallons of vodka they are quick to spew a bunch of violent threats aimed at you. They will bravely attack you in cyberspace! They also might run from person to person trying to tear up your name. Remind you of anyone you know? Violence is violence and alcohol overdosing is no excuse.
Of course, it isn’t just the adults on the Rez who are terrorized by bullies. And you don’t have to be drunk to be a bully on my Rez. Our headstart, elementary middle and high school students are also subject to the cruelty of bullies every single day at school.
Sometimes a parent has to go into the school to put a stop to the bullying because the staff members are not really effective in keeping the peace between the students. And then when the parent shows up to help their student set things straight with the bullies, they are bullied by the administrator!
Do you realize that our children learn how bully by imitating their parents? Next time a child is picking on your child, think about who the parents of that student are. Chances are they are people who bully others.
An aggressive child will grow into an adult bully. So the vicious cycle continues on and on and on. When I look at some of the adult bullies on our reservation and then think about whom their parents are, it makes sense that they grew up to be mean people.
I believe when you are a bully you are basically a violent person. I don’t think Lakota people are born mean or cruel or violent. Their parents make them that way. The cruel, violent bully needs your prayers.